tv [untitled] November 15, 2011 7:00am-7:30am PST
the department of building inspection for new construction shall not be converted to student housing. staff has received two letters in response to the proposed ordinance. the first round. o'brien -- the first from harry o'brien requesting that the reclines be replaced with requirements for conditional use authorization rather than flat out prohibition so that the commission may review these requests on a case by case basis. the sec letter from the pacific heights residents' association ages the commission to support the prohibition to convert housing to student housing. specifically rental units to student housing. i have presented a general overview of our policy goals. you have the draft ordinance before you. that concludes my presentation, but i am available for questions, and i will also distribute copies for the letters i have received as well. thank you. commissioner miguel: thank you.
i have one card on this. >> good afternoon, commissioners. i have really two reasons for being here. one is i am the project sponsor. you have heard an earful from the neighbors. the conduct of negotiation with neighbors, they would much prefer to see student housing. so to the extent that there is a prohibition on the transfer of group housing to student housing, that would undermine the negotiations we have had, but more broadly, if somebody is going into a project, with a developer going into a project, the narrower the definitions of the end use of the project are, the harder it is to potentially envision tenants for the project. this forces you to find a tenant before you start the project, both in your own risk assessment
and more concretely, the four banks give you loans. to the extent we take a pretty broad group house and definition and narrow it, i think the practical effect would be that there would be fewer student housing and fewer group housing project altogether because it would be harder to get them off the ground. me personally, going into this group housing situation, i knew once i had the project entitled, i could either find a city agency to take it, or a non- profit, or a school. to give me a lot of freedom, i was willing to take a big financial risk. i encourage you to think about -- you know, we clearly have the conversion of a lot of sro's and i do not know how many group housing units. that could be something we would ask staff about. we do not want to lose good housing, but we do want to encourage the development of new projects, and i think the way it
is drafted, it would undermine the creation of new projects. commissioner miguel: thank you. [reading names] >> @ afternoon, commissioners. i am the manager for the institutional master plan at the university of san francisco. thank you for the opportunity to speak with you today. i am speaking on behalf of the university to ask that you modify the proposed ordinance. our concerns are outlined in the letter that harry o'brien said you where we do>> we feel an abe prohibition is unduly strict. we ask it to be modified to allow for a case by case review of those housings. the example that mr. o'brien outlined in his letter are very real situations for the university. one example was for an educational institution to seek a residential buildings to
accommodate students while new student housing is being constructed on campus. another example was whether to acquire the existing housing near campus that is already occupied by students in order to positively address neighborhood concerns about student behavior or maintenance. as you may recall, we are working very hard to improve our relationship with the neighbors and improved student behavior and improved housing is very much part of that strategy. another example is the universal control of underutilized residential building. again, holyfield that this proposal is strict and could result in unintended consequences. we ask that you modify the ordinance to allow for a
conditional use or case by case review. i appreciate your consideration. >> i think it is an excellent idea, what you're doing. i have not looked at the details of that. i did testify on the eir for the institution i am concerned about. i don't have negative feelings about the institution, but in my neighborhood, they took many buildings that had been residences where neighbors, members, relatively low income used to live. what happened to the people that were living in those buildings. i have no idea. we had a parallel where people bought buildings and turned them into executive suites, like a hotel type use. in a similar kind of conversion
without any procedure. i would suggest that if you are looking at this, i don't know how this is drafted. you should not be thinking about their having to be some legal procedure to convert them back if there wasn't an entitlement to begin with. who that is certainly what happened within the executive suites. somebody bought the buildings and they just changed them. the conditional use is not such a bad idea because unless the neighborhood becomes aware of that, there is nobody speaking for a, against the conditional use. it tends to automatically pass. maybe there are some exceptions. i am not advocating for that, but if you look, there may be some exceptions that might be suitable. but certainly not if it was part of the housing stock. whether it was sro or under rent
control. what i am hearing sounds like a good idea. commissioner miguel: is there additional public comment on this item? >> good afternoon, commissioners. as you well know, this is that a key goal and an initiative of hours for years. in particular, i want to thank sophie for the great work she has done and walking us through where we are now. our general impression of this proposal is that it is not bad. but it is a kind of tim that response before very pressing civic challenges. higher education is one of the top four sectors of the city. we have 120,000 students in san
francisco, and a reasonable case can be made that there are 50,000 beds right now. that need is being satisfied by craig's list in housing that is assumed to be family size rental stock. what we are hearing again and again is that the tools are having a lot of trouble meeting the housing needs. we just heard recently that you see hastings' turned away 25 students that were accepted for admission and had paid residential deposits. i have heard the same thing about the art institute of san francisco. i am hearing crazy stuff about the scrambling last minute when they are trying to figure out where to put students. i would offer a comparison to what boston did in the late 90's. they passed the "leading the way" initiative.
they were in similar conditions, and in response to their initiative, they built about 1000 units a year for 10 years. that is a civic response to that says that we have a problem and we need to correct it. we have always opposed the conversion of sro's. we understand there is a bright line that this has to be about building new housing and not simply displacing or converting to something else. what we feel about this proposal is that it is good, but it has a lot of hedging. we don't want to allow a loophole here so we can come back and talk about this one in three years. this is largely because of the bad behavior of one-acter. -- one actor. i'm out of time.
i think this needs more work and we could do this with the supervisors. i wish it would be a stronger statement going forward. commissioner miguel: [reading names] >> i am speaking as a member of the housing action coalition. we worked closely with the department and a supervisor dufty. as a result, there are a couple of student housing projects that are proposed. these would bought happen without the incentives provided for it. we appreciate the department consulting with us on this legislation. i would like to suggest a couple of changes. the premise of the student housing program is that student housing is affordable housing. nearby at large low income. they rely on that for financial
aid to get by. half of college seniors have taken loans. the average load is $18,000. figures for graduate students are even higher. the average student leaves with $88,000 in debt. they haven't come well enough that would qualify for the unit. given this, it makes sense for the same types of incentives that are available for affordable housing to be available for student housing. there is a bonus that is often used by both 100% affordable projects and for the on-site units in the market rate project. buildings are constrained by height edible oil and that, they just don't have to buy as much. it is a reasonable way to bring down costs and i urge you to consider a similar bonus for student housing. student housing projects should not be burdened with more
procedure that other housing projects. in most of the city, student housing isn't. in some places, and student housing needs a cu. there is no reason to treat it differently. i understand there is reluctance to modify the eastern neighborhoods, but there is a precedent for minor changes. earlier this year, the requirement to put offices in historic buildings was eliminated and proposed changes to the 1% program would extend to the eastern neighborhoods. it makes sense to let an economic cycle play out before broadly and evaluating a plan. changing the procedure for entitling student housing where residential uses are already allowed doesn't seem to infringe on the grand bargain.
how much land is allocated for housing and i hope you will consider the change. >> i am not appearing today on behalf of any client, but as a participant in a formal working group on the student housing legislation. their willingness to engage us on student housing legislation and for developing proposed legislation that will have a positive contribution to the development of student housing badly needed. i appreciate clarification on that change of unapproved housing project should not be considered a conversion.
we believe it is consistent with the proper interpretation. i have an area where i respectively disagree with staff oppose the proposal. this is a personal position. the desirability of a flat prohibition on existing housing to student housing. the conversion of any existing housing to student housing should certainly be rare and should certainly be subject to full commission review, but we question why the city should tie its hands with a flat prohibition. are there of situations you can think of where property that has been used for housing before might appropriately be used for student housing? therefore, we request that the commission carefully consider whether to change the flat prohibition to a cu process. we have talked about an
institution in this city where there are concerns about how they have created student housing. if they have gone through a process, we would not have had a problem but that we now think we have. i think the process will give the city the protection it needs without tying its hands to rule that we may find to be unduly restrictive in some circumstances -- circumstances. good afternoon. i am the director of research and planning of the college of the arts located in the neighborhood. we have been in front of you before to speak in favor of this and we appreciate the work that the staff and the commission have done. it is a fully accredited
nonprofit college of art and design found that in the aftermath of the great earthquake and fire. as you well know, innovative economies are fuelled by intellectual capital. like centers of innovation, san francisco draws much of the capital from the rich network of colleges and universities. these local colleges and universities compete to attract students from across the nation and around the world, coming here to pursue their studies and lots their careers. we are not competing with each other locally, it is outside the bay area. since they compete regularly, the art institute of chicago, both of which have portable housing with their admission offers. since the trouble here without certainty of where they will live, they end up competing with everyone else for the limited
supply of rental housing often occupying family size rental units with multiple, unrelated young adults. with 100,000 students seeking accommodations, you could imagine the impact this is having on the housing stock. welcoming housing students while they pursue their education should not result in the displacement of existing residents. these functions should be able to coexist and flourished together and think this legislation shows how to do that. other creative economy cities have recognized this and adopted policies to promote the building of student housing. boston had that for the past 10 years. since those students are not taking rental units out of circulation, boston has, in effect, created more housing stock out of their existing supply. it is an incredible success
story that we can emulate here. we will approve these amendments and thank you for your work on this. commissioner miguel: is there additional public comment? >> thank you, commissioners. i want to thank the staff for bringing forth this very good legislation. i wanted to speak in support regarding the f.a.r. downtown. it applies to housing projects as well as commercial projects. the bill to the height and bulk limits, you have to buy tdr's or a bonus of some kind. you don't have to buy them to build on site units. i suggest that the same ought to apply here. in your definition of student
housing, and you say that the institution that runs the student housing must certify that at least 30% of their students are low-income. i would suggest you provide an -- provide a bonus for the student housing so it is equivalent to what market rate housing gets a bonus for. at least 30% of the square footage that must be occupied, you don't have to go on the market to build a 30% of the square footage that must be occupied for low-income students. it must be a fair manner have not penalizing the students, but it is a very good location for student housing. it would become an important incentive to provide the equivalent.
>> the afternoon. in looking at this, it seems like this is a very positive thing to do. saving the private residence as it is. one of the things that we have considered going forward, and what will be done in regard to past housing that is lost. some of the things, the academy of arts. perhaps you might start thinking about that. in regards to this proposal, i think we like it very much because it preserves housing.
commissioner miguel: is there additional public comment on this item? >> commissioners, i am from the pacific heights residents' association. we believe that the best overall policy would be a simple declaration to preserve the existing housing. the only policy objective would be to conserve existing housing stock. we have been very concerned about the amount of residents that have been taken by student housing and we believe that the definition of student housing should not permit and the continued removal of rental apartments for families and residents by conversion to student housing. many affordable rental units
have been converted to dormitory facilities, and these units represent largely what would be affordable rental units for families and residents of san francisco. commissioner miguel: is there any additional public comment on this item? public comment is closed. commissioner antonini: i want to thank the staff for this issue. i do have some problems with parts of it. what we are doing is creating a new category of housing that doesn't presently exist. student housing is considered in the general housing market. what we are doing is further restricting this category that we restrict regular restrictions on other housing.
i think that is holding it to a higher standard. within dakota, we have protection to get its units lost by the demolition, conversion, and will require a conditional use for four units or more, correct me if i am wrong. and below that amount, it is subject to mandatory discretionary review. they're plenty of projections, have the proper amendment is to require additional use for all conversions of existing housing into the category that will be defined in the future as a student housing. the way it is now, it tends to favor one class of resident over another. they do require housing and to give preferred housing to other residents is probably not a good
way to pursue things. i think what the impetus of this legislation is to promote the building of new student housing or the conversion of retail or unused housing into student housing rather than to put protections against -- i feel the city should center its acquisitions rather than more restrictions on private markets. what we have done is driven the prices up rather than a
prohibition it will require mandatory conditional use currently, they are defined as housing and through a lot of reasons they don't have anyone in them. these things that come into this category, the historic factors that will, i think, in the future, cause the housing stock to be uninhabitable and the marketable. we could open up a lot more housing. there could be situations where
an owner will come up and build compensatory housing to replace that stock and put new housing in that will help through the loss of the rental units. i am not saying this would be a requirement, but this would be another way. i am not saying that this is necessarily a good application for student housing, but there may be some instances where very large single-family homes might serve as a student housing in some instances with the conditional use process and the consent of the people around there. as was pointed out by mr. o'brien, the university could acquire housing that is presently de facto student housing. they have been occupying these places for many years and and often decades.
and there are a number of instances where we would be able to take or grant a conditional use. overall, this legislation would have the effect of discouraging the conversion of housing into the new category of student housing and pushed universities and institutions toward building more. it would not be part of my amendment i am receptive to the idea of an f.a.r. bonus downtown. i'm not sure you have to tie it into an income test, all students do that regardless of their income level. i don't think you want to restrict it to institutions that demonstrate 30% students of a lower income necessarily. in general, bonuses for building
student housing would be helpful. and finally, the eastern neighborhood situation is probably not appropriate for us to deal with right at this time, but i hear what is being said it might be something that they may want to -- i will be making an amendment in the future. commissioner borden: i am supportive of this legislation, it goes and the right direction. i am somewhat receptive to what commissioner antonini mentioned, but i would want to put some parameters around it. there are probably instances that might make sense to -- i can think of a building where i used to live in the marina that
for a long time was one person living in the whole building. i can think of other buildings that are somewhat empty and could potentially be the type of place where you might think of the for student housing. i am not sure why this large building on the corner is vacant, but i know that we have an issue with student housing in the city. a lot of students can't afford to the regular rental rates of apartments in the city. it is very expensive. the average 1-bedroom apartment is $2,500 a month and is not exactly affordable even for an individual, let alone a student. my concern would be to put parameters around will be the condition, sort of like what we have done with building unit mergers where we spelled out of the situation by which this makes sense.